Orioles first half in review

July 13, 2000|By Joe Strauss

Road woes

The fourth-place Orioles countered their 23-13 record at Camden Yards with a major league-worst 15-35 road record. Pitching was the No. 1 reason. At home, the Orioles amassed a credible 4.57 ERA; however, on the road, the team ERA ballooned to 6.62. Every Orioles starting pitcher except Sidney Ponson suffered a road ERA at least 1.25 higher than at home. No reliever had a road ERA below 5.00. (Buddy Groom had an 0.63 ERA in 14 games and Chuck McElroy a 1.86 ERA in eight games at Camden Yards.) The offense was also biased, averaging 5.5 runs at home and 4.98 runs away despite a better road batting average.

Bullpen blues

Only an appeal for a scoring change by the Orioles' public relations staff prevented the bullpen from suffering 20 blown saves in the first half for a second straight season. Fourteen relievers combined for 16 saves, 19 blown saves and a 6.18 ERA compared last year's 14 saves, 20 blown and 5.91 ERA. It's not overuse. The rotation is second in the league in innings.

Streaking

The Orioles suffered six losing streaks of at least four games, including a nine-game and seven-game slide. They also enjoyed four winning streaks of at least four games, including a pair of six-game runs. They spent 62.8 percent of the first half riding streaks of at least four games.

Months to remember

All-Star shortstop Mike Bordick set a club record with 29 RBIs in April and has already set a career high with 14 home runs. Right fielder Albert Belle established a club record for RBIs in any month with 37 in June. He also tied the franchise record with 17 RBIs in a calendar week. Belle was named AL Player of the Month in June for the second time in four months.

An ugly distinction

The Orioles began their nine-game losing streak by allowing at least eight runs in seven consecutive games from June 17 to June 23. Elias Sports Bureau reports that hadn't happened since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

What if?

Aside from their league-leading blown saves, the Orioles have lost 12 times when leading by at least three runs - twice after leading by seven runs, once after leading by six, three times by five, once by four and five times by three. During the bad old days of '99, the Orioles lost only seven leads of least three runs and only one of more than four.

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